In a country like India where a news over WhatsApp spreads like wildfire, restricting the limit to forwarding messages is a great move. Last year, a false rumor about child abduction went out, and it leads to several vigilante murders. To avoid something like this, WhatsApp adds this new feature that each message now can be forwarded just five times.
According to Facebook:
In India people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world. So, WhatsApp is also removing the “quick forward” feature, a button that appears next to photos, videos, and links. We’re horrified by the violence in India, and we’ve announced number of different product changes to help address these issues. It’s a challenge which requires an action by civil society, government and tech companies.
From this point on, you will only be able to forward a message to 20 chats at once. But if you are in India this will be limited to just five chats. This new restriction means that if a media message is forwarded five times from the same account, then WhatsApp will disable the option for forwarding it further. According to WhatsApp, this will ensure that the platform remains a private messaging app, and also stops misleading information from spreading.
WhatsApp has already started labeling all forwarded messages as ‘Forwarded’ in the hope of illuminating the users that the message sent to them was not written by the sender. The idea is that people will treat some of these forwarded messages with caution. WhatsApp also took out advertisement campaigns in newspapers in India on steps to fight the spread of fake news.
All these changes are expected to open people’s eyes to stop forwarding fake news and also to make people aware of any false news they might encounter with.